Note: I did not get that organization's endorsement. Not sure if there was much thought in the discussion and decision at all.
Gertrude Stein Political Club's FAQs
3 / 30 / 2001
FAQs and Replies from Mark Rauterkus Gertrude Stein Political Club of Greater Pittsburgh
PO Box 8108 Pittsburgh, PA 15217 412-521-7061
Candidate Questionnaire 2001
This questionnaire will be used by the members of GSPCGP in deciding our endorsements. Please send your response by e-mail (if possible) and fax or send the hard copy. You are also welcomed to enclose any campaign materials you wish, and to comment on other issues. We use the term "sexual minorities" to mean lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgendered people. Responses to the questionnaire may be publicized; let us know if you want GSPCGP to keep your specific responses confidential.
1. Give your name, office sought, address, phone, fax, and e-mail address.
Mark Rauterkus, Mayor in the City of Pittsburgh 108 South 12th Street Pittsburgh, (South Side) PA 15203-1226 headquarters phone: 412-481-2497 no fax Mark@Rauterkus.com
2. What is your experience in government, politics, and public issues?
My personal experiences are limited when it comes to holding an elected office. My political party experiences are very modest as well. However, as a consumer, lifelong voter, activist, advocate, citizen and member of society at large -- I've been vigilant throughout my entire life.
I have a journalism background, and that has much to do about public issues. Freedom-of-information, ethical behaviors by choice, balanced treatments and public dialog are all things where I have had great experiences.
I've worked in all sorts of settings: private-university, public/state university, religious university, public school district (K-12) (9-12), city government, park-government, small business, self-employed, non-profits, private consulting, and even with zero-earnings in recent years.
Public issues present a large spectrum with my past actions and interests. Some examples include: Public hearings (I've organized for City Council), public demonstrations (spoke at some, attended many), public domain advocate (often contributed and helped to protect and advance in high-tech sectors), public health champion (book publishing), and many other flavors of the public life are understood and respected. Some of what we deal with needs to be re-tooled. The infrastructure of what should be and what is our public realm is sadly worn. Case in point, public broadcasting and public tv issues. I think it is wrong for QED to sell off the air-rights of Channel 16 (WQEX) to a commercial owner. Likewise, it is wrong for QED to squander their responsibilities to the public by doing a simulcast for far to many months.
Most of the big issues of our day boil down to public understandings of the public process concerning public outcomes. I'm a generalist who sees the whole picture and has some hands-on experiences with a fabulous array of small-picture elements as well. In a nutshell, I'm a Free Market Republican, and that comes to mean that we should not be doing public subsidies for corporations with city government actions/resources. Our free market is being choked and our freedoms and liberties dwindle under the hyper-active legislations and policies.
What is more of a shame, in my view, is the realization that most of the people's policy, good-intended measures are not enforced nor executed well by city leadership (i.e., Mayor's policy and will for true improvements). We need to change the existing leadership as they are not doing a good job for the public sector. And, we need to enliven the public will to new insights and energy by getting new leaders who are sensitive and keen to the real issues that matter to the wellness of our global public health. So, I think we can make a strong case for new leadership with new directions that steer us more to freedoms.
3. What is your position on affirmative action to combat racism and sexism?
Racism and sexism are not to be tolerated at all from me. I push and pull people to the Nth degree as I become aware of bad behaviors. I'm so proactive that affirmative action is made into a worthless, historical benchmark.
The combat word in the above question opens up a can of worms that I'd love to cover in another setting. I'm a peacemaker. And, it takes lots of pressure and proactive communications to bring about peace. When I come in from the fringe (so to speak) I blur the traditional notion of "sides" and this tends to topple the polarized ruts we often find ourselves stuck within. So, let me say that my style of "combat" is of a multidimensional one that is unlike what most others would do. Hence, the old battles are often declared finished as we move on to more root problems.
Affirmative action, in the traditional sense, is not something I'm so keen upon. I do feel that the best person for the job should get the job. And, the best person may or may not be the most qualified in terms of only years of experience. On-the-job training can be good training or bad training. I'm not so quick to be judgmental as to what decisions a manager should be forced to make. Case in point: I feel that I could make for a splendid Mayor, as I'm able to leverage my personal insights and skills into a new role. People can rise to the challenges. And, likewise, people who are floundering in those positions need to be moved.
I'd predict that we'd have a much more fluid work force in the city under my leadership as Mayor. I'd hold extensive interviews, staff-meetings, department meetings and even provide good opportunities for thoughts to be communicated on paper and in on-line writings. That oversight and first-hand witnessing would turn up the heat in many quarters. I'd challenge others to justify decisions and listen to what is being advised and has been done in the past. I'd get into the awareness zone and do some nudging as I saw fit. I'm not scared to be bold when it comes to doing the best things for the right reasons.
My oversight as Mayor would empower others to retool our habits and priorities as needed. But, it in no way is my style meant to be a hint at micro-managing. Rather, I am the type to dig in on principle and with person placement matters. I base my justifications and judgements upon what I see as ideal in both performance and philosophy.
I call my framework "proactive" and not "progressive." My work is going to be out in the open, in the field, so to speak with the citizens and employees. I'll have the town-hall meetings, and the video cameras and streaming content will be there. We'll be accessible and we'll make history together. We'll hear from the right people and perhaps see the open-blunders all in the course of our actions, as clear as can be. Our bosses are going to have public accountability and we'll gather in earnest to instigate and agitate for the ideal solutions. Good leadership as well as great execution needs to be more evident in the city, and this is going to happen with my proactive style that creates great public discussions.
I assume that much of the day-to-day talk of our city now happens now behind closed doors, if these folks are at all on-the-ball within themselves. But, sadly, I don't have much evidence of it as a very engaged citizen who watches for it. In turn, the customer or citizen appreciation of this city is at an all-time low. This needs to be reversed by being more open and "proactive."
Pittsburgh needs to crack apart the pervasive done-deal, top-down mentality. Too much happens behind closed doors. The citizens are left to only assume things about certain actions. Rather, as Mayor, I'd move discussions out into the open. I'd be inclusive in our ponderings. We'd encourage people to "think again" within our public spaces. We'd be proactive, and that is not going to be "neat" -- but it is going to make sure that awareness flows. Our values need to be put into perspective and some new priorities need to be charted for all to witness if they so desire. The jaded attitude of the power elite is a turnoff for many of our people -- and too many have already voted in the past decades by leaving the area. People have been and are still ready to vote with their feet and migrate out of Pittsburgh because they are kept in the dark by a design and intent from the power-elite.
When it is all said and done, and sorry for the long answer, affirmative action is going to take a back-seat to proactive action. I hope to have the opportunity to prove this to be so.
4. What is your position on pay equity and comparable worth?
5. In approving appointments and/or staff hiring, do you support a policy of
nondiscrimination toward sexual minorities?
6. Are there any areas of employment where you feel sexual minority people
should not be hired? If so, what areas?
7. Do you favor government support for AIDS prevention programs,
including needle exchange?
I think it is wrong that the current laws of Pittsburgh do not allow for a needle exchange program. The needle-exchange program is legal in the City of Brotherly Love, our cross-state City of Philadelphia.
However, in the long-run, I think it is wrong to have a city-sponsored/subsidized needle-exchange program.
As a Free Market Republican, I'd be proactive in handling this issue as Mayor. Let me explain. From time to time, I think it makes sense to ensure that the right things come about -- and by all means, I think that the issue of needle exchange is one such cause. But, here is what I would do, and why.
While it is right to obey the laws, we can work to change the laws. Then, we obey the new, better, more laws.
In this case, the might and awareness of city government should stir and come awake from a slumber. A new Mayor (with the clout of the city) could fix this wrong that exists today.
After the fix, the next step would be to end the sanctions of the subsidies. Overall, I'd advocate a multiple-step approach that takes us closer to the ideal. At times it is hard to go from bad performance to the ideal without an evolution and migration over time. I want progress and evolutionary changes to take root. I'd want to turn up our listening, inclusion, discussions and passion on these ideas.
So, I think it would be okay for the city departments to begin to set into motion -- or else to set up a functional needle exchange program where there is none now -- and where it is illegal to do so even. These actions would come from the city-government so as to break the gridlock for the non-profits agencies who dare not take those risks and tangle with the power of government. To obey one's heart and do what is right (for the non-profit activists) is hard to do when it is more necessary to do what the strongest say must be obeyed. Justice without might is helpless. The might of city government is coming down on ways that hinder justice in global ways -- giving our options to be far more tyrannical than ideal.
In the end, it would be my strong advice that the city program for a needle exchange program have its plug pulled. But, we should plug in a program to insure that it can be done and be legal for others to do so. Then the city can plug out and allow the non-profits or the activists or the private sector to enter into the market.
The cost to our overall society is great when it comes to HIV, drug abuse, and many other serious ills. Often, society is in a rut when it comes to our options in dealing with the greater good and patching up some of our serious sticking points. I want to move to solutions that are for smaller government, stronger people, expanded freedoms that build in harmony with individual responsibilities. We've got too many laws and restrictions that have not gotten in our own way. There are certain areas where city government needs to be fluid, move in and sooth a trouble, and then evaporate. Government can reply and then exit situations. I feel that a drive to the Free Market solutions are going to get us to greater total wellness in the long run.
There are a few areas where this proactive process could be applied in our city. The issue of the needle-exchange is one. So, I'd start a city-backed needle-exchange program, and then, in due time, I'd be sure to end it as well. The ending of the program comes as the non-profits and activists enter. We would use the strength of the city to make the needle-exchange a legal act. Then, we'd stop the city-funded program. But, then, others, should they so decide, could resume the program or have it evolve in other ways.
Perhaps this is much like the "Sunshine" type acts that end. Making endings is good. We need more exit strategies for our governmental programs. Closure is much like a graduation then.
My four-year term as Mayor would end and the city would have expanded and contracted in many different ways. We'll learn to be more fluid. We'll flex muscles and then relax muscles too. In the end, the city will be much more lean and healthy. In the end, the scope of government and its boundaries will be much more defined and trust on all parts will increase.
Deeds from our history:
1. Activist who want to provide a needle exchange should not do so with a threat of arrest.
2. More so, volunteers who aim to feed the hungry should not do so with a threat of arrest. The delivery of food to the homeless can't happen in Market Square today as the Mayor has made serious threats and has been hostile beyond reason. The volunteers who help the homeless in Pittsburgh are perhaps the most generous of all among us. Yet sadly, the Mayor's office kicks dirt in their faces as thanks.
3. And too, the advocate with the pamphlets who aims to nourish hungry minds of willing citizen readers can't even begin to cause a spark in our public spaces without the heavy threat of the police and the administration. The delivery of any handouts, from prayer books to campaign handouts to petition gathering is not permitted in downtown's Market Square. Similar actions are not permitted at the city-run farmers markets.
Exceptions/footnote: Guy Costa, a Mayor's chief assistant, does allow a table to be set up in Market Square by the Steelworkers Union to hand out VIP passes to Al Gore's rally held at Point State Park at the end of a Labor Day Parade. But, that is another example of the injustice from the power elite.
The Democratic Mayor, the Administration, with the willing consent of the Democratic City Council too, along with the backing of the Police and Citiparks has made it clear that they all will strike out in harsh ways against all handouts to citizens. The powers that be in Pittsburgh want and work hard to facilitate handouts for the Steelers, the Pirates, Lazarus, Alcoa, Heinz, PNC, Mellon, USAirways and Nordstrum. The big corporations are getting big amounts of corporate welfare. The unified tax in the City of Pittsburgh gave the LTV Corporation a $60,000 per year tax break for its under-utilized land in Hazelwood. The reassessment increases in taxes is landing on the backs of the home-owners and renters. Meanwhile, the homeless, the hungry, the citizen activist and even the most desperate who are perhaps addicts of drugs and risking of getting AIDS get crushed further by our elected leaders.
How in the heck can you expect our city's leaders who are in office today to mount a campaign for a needle exchange when we can't even allow for ways for the children of this city to freely visit and splash about the 32 existing public swim pools in the heat of the summer?
The needle exchange program would be a wonderful flag to raise as a candidate as it can come to tell a story of so much more that is under the scope of awareness for the average Joe on the street. But, we need to tell the entire story and give the reasonings that make it all come together. We need to make it a process-based agenda that isn't just about addicts. The true addicts are the corporations and the heavyweight politicians that drunken themselves with corporate welfare deals at the expense of the citizens, time and time again.
Consider Pittsburgh and the story of the caterpillar. It is my great hope that we can all agree that Pittsburgh should be at the twilight of its time as a corporate-welfare, Democrat, liberal, caterpillar. Overall our city acts like a caterpillar with high consumption and mobility full of creep.
My arrival as Mayor would provide three steps:
1. The caterpillar's ending
2. The cocoon's transitional period of slumber and shock
3. The butterfly's emergence
My campaign for Mayor needs to inject the hope and imagination of turning Pittsburgh into a thriving city and region again -- much like the transformation of the caterpillar to the butterfly. The evolution in nature of the caterpillar can happen in Pittsburgh too should the people have the willing perceptions and desire to make it occur.
The campaign endeavors happening in part at Rauterkus.com need to move our city to both a transitional phase (offering a huge shock) and then to a graduation phase (offering a huge new outlook). Should I become Mayor, Pittsburgh as a caterpillar would end its ways, go into a cocoon, and then emerge as a butterfly.
In the general election cycle, we need to take the time to gather as a city. This should begin to happen in larger amounts in the later months of the fall election campaign. The transition period would shock our system and then shock us into a season where we go, by choice, into a cocoon. We'd look within ourselves for answers. We'd internalize our struggles and issues. Perhaps the slumber happens in earnest after the election day and throughout the first winter after the new office holders arrive.
Then in the months to follow, Pittsburgh would emerge as a butterfly -- say in March, 2002.
We don't need Bob O'Connor to win the election as Mayor so we can run to Harrisburg for more handouts. Should O'Connor win the election, and to carry this illustration to the next chapter, it would amount to the caterpillar moving to another tree so it can continue to devour all the leaves over there because the one we are in now has been picked bare. I hope that the voters of Pittsburgh and the endorsement bodies that are part of our political landscape choose to end our consumption-driven mode of operations.
Should Tom Murphy win his third re-election, the caterpillar's life would be extended too. In this case, Murphy would be less welcomed to move to another tree for more food (as per trips to Harrisburg for O'Connor), rather Murphy's administration is smart. It would figure out ways to grow teeth and devour the existing leafless tree's bark, branches, trunk and roots. The Murphy caterpillar has an appetite and can grow teeth.
My advice is for a system-wide change that would be a big shock to the caterpillar. Sure, we'd cast our web tightly around ourselves. We'll be frozen in time for a while even. But, my win would present a wonderful new rebirth. To flourish, we need to grow massive wings. The caterpillar's death is but a renewal for the hope of the butterfly that Pittsburgh can become.
8. What is your position on a woman's right to choose a safe and legal abortion?
As mayor, it would be my duty to uphold the law.
9. Do you support the enactment of laws amending anti-discrimination
statutes to protect the rights of sexual minority people? If so, what specifically would you be willing to do to secure their passage, implementation, and enforcement?
All discrimination is bad. I don't tolerate discrimination in my actions. I despise it. I think everyone has rights and I understand that rights are different from power. We all suffer when one among us has his or her rights trampled. But, being proactive in my approach to life, I'd rather not legislate morality and good behavior. Rather, I'd make it happen to the best of my powers and abilities as a willingness to do the just deeds.
10. Do you support the enactment of laws amending Hate Crime laws to
protect the rights of sexual minority people? If so, what specifically would you be willing to do to secure their passage, implementation, and enforcement?
Hate crimes are very ugly indeed. Last night the news had a story about a home in Hazelwood that had a torching of a Tom Murphy sign in its front yard. Many signs had been stolen from there in the days preceding the torching. A series of crimes have been done, perhaps by thugs from the other heavyweight's camp. That stinks. But, was that a "hate crime?" If that person is caught, should he or she go away to prison for 10-time the punishment?
For me, hate crimes are crimes. I think that the police and the authorities can pursue, can press and be more keen to crimes of a gross violation -- but we don't need to make a new category of crime to see that happen. Perhaps we need better management and people of principle to be bold and proactive in such matters. I do not support the creation of more laws such as hate crime presents. But, I'd go far to protect the rights of sexual minority people.
11. What will you do to reduce the number of sexual violent acts committed?
I think that all sexual crimes are violent acts. The best way to reduce the numbers of violent acts committed is to empower the people. Being educated, self-assured, connected, and empowered can be a huge strength in terms of wellness and general health. Being dependent, ignored, weak and alone is a sure way to increase the chances for bad things happening.
I've been a coach. I've organized activities that have greatly empowered young people. We need more programs and more opportunities for our younger, middle-aged and senior people to build their strengths from within. These programs need to challenge and stimulate. These are not easy to accomplish, but we need to try in these areas to a much more determined degree.
I think that the Citiparks programs are mostly lame. They are nice, but there is so much more that we can do to go closer to our potential with these programs and with the participants. The recreation -- or should I stress, Re-Creation needs to be re-tooled in a proactive way so we have greater opportunities for brushes with excellence.
With our new Convention center, I think that it is important to stage events that are citizen driven/focused. Sure, the corporate auto-shows and robotics shows are nice and needed. However, I went to Chicago with my son to speak and enjoy a national convention for Stay-At-Home-Dads. The empowering, understanding, kinship and ready-made resources for ourselves made for an ultimate uplifting.
We are at a time when the news is full of dads (and moms too) who have set fire to their home with their kids inside, drowning others, crushings the little bones of flesh and blood offspring. That hopelessness is so ugly that it makes sense to me to do something different with our society and culture.
Showcasing a new car is great for TV ads and perhaps it is needed for convention center bookings. But, in my perspective, I could do with much less of the sexy, Madison Ave., new-car glitz -- and more with the humanistic help that might flow from a celebration of grandparents. We can teach ourselves how to be better parents. We can teach ourselves how to be better voters/citizens. But, we need to put ourselves first, and then put those among us on stage and let it flow.
Furthermore, these grass-roots participation interactions that celebrate the human spirit should NOT be subsidized from the city's budget. We can build these plans at little or no cost, launch them into the free marketplace of ideas, and reap the rewards with stronger people and break-even programming. If we had the right leadership, Pittsburgh could be a meca for visitors and wellness. Our outcomes would pay huge dividends.
12. What is your position on the right of sexual minority people to be considered on their individual merits in custody and adoption matters?
13. What is your position on civil marriage for same-sex couples?
Perhaps the pressing issue that looms behind this question has to do with employment and health insurance coverage. Public health can be a massive, long-term discussion that I can lead artfully in the years ahead. This should be a huge strength for us, and I ask what has UPMC done for us recently?
That system is one of American's greatest hospitals -- and I would only wish that they would act like it more often.
I think city employees would be better employees if they were on the job and understood that their loved ones were being insured. This could also come to extend to other generations as well. We could extend health-care coverage in many ways. We need to put our minds into that quagmire and take the lead nation-wide in doing.
14. Do you support access to insured medical care for HIV positive persons?
Yes. I think every person should have the opportunity to be insured. I don't want to be the one not covered. Nor do I want my loved one's not covered.
15. Do you support access to insured medical care for transgendered persons?
DATE AND SIGN YOUR RESPONSE BEFORE SENDING IT TO US.
Delivered in person on March 30, 2001 by the candidate. Delivered via email too. This document won't change. However, an updated version might be posted to the net as we have more time to proof read our replies.